Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
Belle (Emma Watson) is the most beautiful girl in her village but is also a local outcast due to her love for reading. Nonetheless, she is constantly chased by the most desired and most conceited man in town, Gaston (Luke Evans), but she wants nothing to do with him. Instead she dreams of having a much greater and much for fulfilling life than the one that is in store for her in this village, but she cannot leave her father so she finds her escape in books. One day, she discovers her father is missing and, when she goes looking for him, she finds a mysterious mansion that is inhabited by objects that have come to life and is also inhabited by her fathers captor, the Beast (Dan Stevens).
Too Similar to Original (-6pts)
Beauty and the Beast (-6pts)
Emma Watson (+10pts)
Animate Objects and the Beast (-3pts)
Pro - Visuals (+10pts)
This movie was visually stunning. The visual effects, the wardrobe, the colorful set and the musical choreograph. All of this, together, made for a very visually pleasing film. This movie borrows a lot from the original cartoon. Both the wardrobe and the set pieces were evidence of how well this movie, visually, balanced on the line between cartoon and live action. These elements respected the cartoon while bringing everything to life in an impressive way. While I wasn't a fan of the look of the Beast or some of the objects (I'll get into that later), I did think the visual effects in this movie were great. This should not be a surprise, coming from the studio that gave us last year's The Jungle Book. I also thought the dance numbers were impressive. I cannot imagine the effort that went into perfecting these scenes and I thought a lot of the success of this movie would rely on the natural and fantastic feel of these musical sequence. As a result, I think this movie succeeded in, visually, bringing the classic film to life.
Con - Too Similar to Original (-6pts)
While I just gave praise to this movie for being visually similar to the cartoon, I thought the story itself was too similar to the original. Now I understand the impossible situation that Disney has put themselves in. Some will hate their movie if it is too different from the original, and some others will hate on the movie if it is too similar. I think the major plot points of these movies should respect the original but that everything in between can be altered. There were a couple things that bothered me in this movie which I was ok with in the original. I thought the Beast capturing the father felt random and unjustified. More crucially, I thought the switch between Belle hating and caring for the Beast felt unnatural and unjustified. These issues could have easily been fixed in the writers room but I got the impression that the filmmakers were afraid to stray from the story on the cartoon.
Pro - Music (+8pts)
The music in this movie was everything it needed to be. It has all the favorite songs from the classic and it gave some fun dance sequences. This movie also, and very importantly, does not rely on the classic and beloved songs in order to give a fun and decent movie. Instead the songs felt like fun, nostalgic bonuses which is exactly what they needed to be. So sit back and enjoy these wonderfully adapted songs and sequences.
Con - Beauty and the Beast (-6pts)
As I previously stated, I did not t the turn from hating to caring worked in this movie. It felt random and unjustified which resulted in me not caring about their growing relationship or their fate together. Their relationship together is a crucial element of this story so the beginning of that relationship needs to be natural. That, unfortunately, was not the case in this movie. Emma Watson was the only reason I did not designate more points to this Con. Her impressive and subtle acting saved the scene in which Belle's opinion of the Beast starts to change. However the story did not justify that turn for me.
Pro - Emma Watson (+10pts)
Emma Watson was perfect and impressive in this movie, and I think this would have been a much lesser movie without her. Her performance saved some otherwise random or ridiculous scenes. She also had to act with a, mostly, CGI Cast but her performance made it never feel out of place or noticeable. I thought she brought depth to the character that was not there in the classic film and, for a remake of such an iconic character in a more iconic movie, that is no small thing. Emma Watson was easily one of the better parts of this movie.
Con - Animate Objects and the Beast (-3pts)
I remember my negative thoughts when I saw the first images of what Lumiere (Ewan McGregor), Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson), Chip (Nathan Mack) and the Beast (Dan Stevens) would look like. I thought they looked weird and in a bad way. I hoped it would be a strictly "out of context" opinion and that once I was in the movie and saw these characters in their environment, I would be okay with it. Having seen the movie, I can say that these characters look weird at first but I just kind of got used to it. I think these "look" changes were weird choices by the filmmakers and I do not think they worked. The only reason this did not hurt the movie much was because the movie goes on long enough for you to get used to the weird looks. I still think they should have done something different with each of these characters.
Rating: B+ (88pts)
This live-action telling of Beauty and the Beast was good. It had great visual effects, color schemes, wardrobe, music and performances. These all made for a fun movie but what the movie was lacking was originality. It was just too similar to the classic Disney animation for my taste. By being so similar, it failed to correct certain plot issues that were forgivable in the cartoon, but unfortunately, were hard to get through in this version of the tale. Then there was the "look" of the Beast and a few of the objects. These were a bit odd at first as they looked weird in a bad way, luckily you get used to the weird look so as the movie moves on, the "look" becomes less and less of an issue.
Beauty and the Beast was a fun entertaining movie to experience. It could have been better but Emma Watson made up for some of its issues. I would recommend seeing this movie. Adults will enjoy it and kids will enjoy it more since they won't be bothered by any of the issues I listed here.